Define Spatial Interaction?
Spatial interaction in the modern world of progress and desire, entirely different sets of conditions prevail in the production and consumption sectors. The unequal distribution of resources leads to a geographic division of production and consumption, reflecting comparative territorial advantage and potential of exchange. Geographical mismatches between demand and supply exist among various areas. The area of production and consumption generally do not concide. Production of goods has no meaning in a market economy unless exchange takes place.
Spatial interaction denotes relationship or linkage between place of demand and place of supply. Spatial interaction is the flow of different goods and commodities, people, services or information from one location to another. Spatial interaction generally includes a variety of movements such as travel, migration, transmission of information, journey to work or shopping, retailing activities, etc. The economic activities are generating (supply) and attracting (demand) flows. The term spatial interaction was given by Ullman to highlight the interdependence of geographical areas over one another. Spatial interaction results by way of flow of resources, goods, labour, capital and technology.
Basis of Spatial Interaction
There are three basis / dimension for spatial interaction or three reasons for why things move:
Image credits © Manoj Patil.
Now let's discuss three basis / dimension for spatial interaction or three reasons for why things move.
Complementarily means supporting each other. Two areas look forward to each other to meet demand and supply. Complementarily is the presence of a demand or deficit at one location and a supply or surplus at another, without which there is no economic rational for any movement. Complementarily, a function of both natural and cultural differences. For e.g. Apples grown in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir and Shawls made in Kullu and Kashmir have a market in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, etc. Thus, there exists a complementarily between the two areas.
In early days, spatial interaction was more an outcome of surpluses and deficiencies, resulting out of natural conditions. In today,s progressive world, it is increasingly being influenced by cultural diffusion and political - economic forces. David Ricardo's classical economic concept of “Comparative Advantage,” provides a relative measure of degree of economic complementarily between two countries based on their opportunity costs. All other things being equal, one nation will export goods to another nation, when it can produce a unit quantity at a lower relative cost than the importing nation.
Transferability depends on geographic distance, economic distance and time distance. Freight, persons or information being transferred must be supported by transport infrastructure, implying that the origin and destination must be linked. The cost to overcome must not be higher than the benefits of related interaction, even if there is complementarily and no alternative opportunity. Transferability is related to volume, value and variety of goods, to be transported. It is their perishability, time taken, mode to be used, state policies and technology which all play an important role.
The appearance of a new destination in between origin point and earlier destination may lead to diversion of traffic and a new equation. This can play an obstructive or supportive role. The new destination may put breaks or enhance and may change the earlier equation of interaction between demand and supply area. Intervening opportunity situation may arise at local, national, regional and international levels. For e.g. initially markets in South Mumbai - Crawford's market, Lohar chawl, etc. were catering to the needs of people from all over Mumbai. However, now Dadar, Bandra, Andheri, etc. Suburbs have developed in wholesaling and retailing. These new markets have appeared as intervening opportunity and thus, have brought a change in the earlier situation. Transport and Communication provide the basic infrastructure for channelising the flows.